Whether you have been running for years or you have just picked up running as a new sport, one thing to think about is your hip strength. Your hip muscles are very important when doing any activity, as they are considered to be your stabilisers. Particularly running which is a high impact sport, if your hip muscles together with your core abdominal muscles are unable to support you, you can develop ligament/ meniscus tears, muscle strains, and fractures elsewhere in the body. In layman’s terms, another part of the body will have to compensate for the weak hip muscles or the gluteus muscles.
All your gluteus muscles are important as they work together and they have different roles to play to stabilise your hip. Particularly your gluteus medius, this is a small muscle which plays a vital role in alignment of the pelvis.
An exercise to target your gluteus medius is by doing “The Clam”
- In side-lying position, slide your bent legs forward so that your hips are flexed to approximately 30 degrees.
- Making sure your hips are “stacked” and the rest of your body is in a straight line, open your knees while keeping your heels together and pelvis in a neutral position. Return to starting position slowly.
This is just one example of many exercises that target your hip muscles and it is important that it is carried out correctly. If this is too easy, you can challenge yourself by adding a resistance band around your hips, or you can exercise your hip strength in a functional standing position.
Evidence shows that the gluteus medius muscles helps with running as well as injury avoidance and therefore the clam exercise is a good place to start.